OBJECTIVE: Recent evidence suggests that the cerebellum may play a role in higher cognitive functions and, therefore, may play an important role in schizophrenia. METHOD: The authors used magnetic resonance imaging to measure cerebellum and vermis volume in 15 patients with schizophrenia and 15 normal comparison subjects. RESULTS: They found that 1) vermis volume was greater in patients with schizophrenia than in normal subjects, 2) greater vermis white matter volume in the patients with schizophrenia significantly correlated with severity of positive symptoms and thought disorder and with impairment in verbal logical memory, and 3) patients with schizophrenia showed a trend for more cerebellar hemispheric volume asymmetry (left greater than right). CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that an abnormality in the vermis may contribute to the pathophysiology of schizophrenia.
OBJECTIVE: Gray matter volume and glucose utilization have been reported to be reduced in the left subgenual cingulate of subjects with familial bipolar or unipolar depression. It is unclear whether these findings are secondary to recurrent illness or are part of a familial/genetic syndrome. The authors' goal was to clarify these findings. METHOD: Volumetric analyses were performed by using magnetic resonance imaging in 41 patients experiencing their first episode of affective disorder or schizophrenia and in 20 normal comparison subjects. RESULTS: The left subgenual cingulate volume of the patients with affective disorder who had a family history of affective disorder was smaller than that of patients with affective disorder with no family history of the illness and the normal comparison subjects. Patients with schizophrenia did not differ from comparison subjects in left subgenual cingulate volume. CONCLUSIONS: Left subgenual cingulate abnormalities are present at first hospitalization for psychotic affective disorder in patients who have a family history of affective disorder.
BACKGROUND: Structural MRI data indicate schizophrenics have reduced left-sided temporal lobe gray matter volumes, especially in the superior temporal gyrus (STG) and medial temporal lobe. Our data further suggest a specificity to schizophrenia spectrum disorders of STG volume reduction. Interpretation of research studies involving schizophrenics may be complicated by the effects of exposure to neuroleptics and chronic illness. Sharing the same genetic diathesis of schizophrenics, subjects with schizotypal personality disorder (SPD) offer a unique opportunity to evaluate commonalities between schizophrenia and SPD, particularly as SPD subjects are characterized by cognitive and perceptual distortions, an inability to tolerate close friendships, and odd behavior, but they are not psychotic and so have generally not been prescribed neuroleptics nor hospitalized. Evaluation of brain structure in SPD may thus offer insight into the "endophenotype" common to both disorders. In addition, differences between groups may suggest which are the brain structures of schizophrenics that contribute to the development of psychosis. METHODS: To test the hypothesis of whether SPD subjects might show similar STG abnormalities, STG and medial temporal lobe regions of interest (ROI) were manually drawn on high resolution coronal MRI 1.5 mm thick slices. Images were derived from 16 right-handed male SPD subjects, without regard to family history, and 14 healthy, right-handed, comparison males who did not differ from the SPD group on parental socio-economic status, age, or verbal IQ. RESULTS: As predicted, SPD subjects showed a reduction in left STG gray matter volume compared with age and gender matched comparison subjects. SPD subjects also showed reduced parahippocampal left/right asymmetry and a high degree of disordered thinking. Comparisons with chronic schizophrenics previously studied by us showed the SPD group had a similarity of left STG gray matter volume reduction, but fewer medial temporal lobe abnormalities. CONCLUSIONS: These abnormalities strengthen the hypothesis of a temporal lobe abnormality in SPD, and the similarity of STG findings in schizophrenia and SPD suggest that STG abnormalities may be part of the spectrum "endophenotype." It is also possible that presence of medial temporal lobe abnormalities may help to differentiate who will develop schizophrenia and who will develop the less severe schizophrenia spectrum disorder, SPD.
PURPOSE: To review preliminary experience with an open-bore magnetic resonance (MR) imaging system for guidance in intracranial surgical procedures. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A vertically oriented, open-configuration 0.5-T MR imager was housed in a sterile procedure room. Receive and transmit surface coils were wrapped around the patient's head, and images were displayed on monitors mounted in the gap of the magnet and visible to surgeons. During 2 years, 200 intracranial procedures were performed. RESULTS: There were 111 craniotomies, 68 biopsies, 12 intracranial cyst evaluations, four subdural drainages, and five transsphenoidal pituitary resections performed with the intraoperative MR unit. In each case, the intraoperative MR system yielded satisfactory results by allowing the radiologist to guide surgeons toward lesions and to assist in treatment. In two patients, hyperacute hemorrhage was noted and removed. The duration of the procedure and the complication rate were similar to those of conventional surgery. CONCLUSION: Intraoperative MR imaging was successfully implemented for a variety of intracranial procedures and provided continuous visual feedback, which can be helpful in all stages of neurosurgical intervention without affecting the duration of the procedure or the incidence of complications. This system has potential advantages over conventional frame-based and frameless stereotactic procedures with respect to the safety and effectiveness of neurosurgical interventions.
OBJECTIVE: Studies of schizophrenia have not clearly defined handedness as a differentiating variable. Moreover, the relationship between thought disorder and anatomical anomalies has not been studied extensively in left-handed schizophrenic men. The twofold purpose of this study was to investigate gray matter volumes in the superior temporal gyrus of the temporal lobe (left and right hemispheres) in left-handed schizophrenic men and left-handed comparison men, in order to determine whether thought disorder in the left-handed schizophrenic men correlated with tissue volume abnormalities. METHOD: Left-handed male patients (N = 8) with DSM-III-R diagnoses of schizophrenia were compared with left-handed comparison men (N = 10) matched for age, socioeconomic status, and IQ. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with a 1.5-T magnet was used to obtain scans, which consisted of contiguous 1.5-mm slices of the whole brain. MRI analyses (as previously defined by the authors) included the anterior, posterior, and total superior temporal gyrus in both the left and right hemispheres. RESULTS: There were three significant findings regarding the left-handed schizophrenic men: 1) bilaterally smaller gray matter volumes in the posterior superior temporal gyrus (16% smaller on the right, 15% smaller on the left); 2) a smaller volume on the right side of the total superior temporal gyrus; and 3) a positive correlation between thought disorder and tissue volume in the right anterior superior temporal gyrus. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that expression of brain pathology differs between left-handed and right-handed schizophrenic men and that the pathology is related to cognitive disturbance.
Probing the cellular structure of in vivo biological tissue is a fundamental problem in biomedical imaging and medical science. This work introduces an approach for analyzing diffusion magnetic resonance imaging data acquired by the novel tensor-valued encoding technique for characterizing tissue microstructure. Our approach first uses a signal model to estimate the variance and skewness of the distribution of apparent diffusion tensors modeling the underlying tissue. Then several novel imaging indices, such as weighted microscopic anisotropy and microscopic skewness, are derived to characterize different ensembles of diffusion processes that are indistinguishable by existing techniques. The contributions of this work also include a theoretical proof that shows that, to estimate the skewness of a diffusion tensor distribution, the encoding protocol needs to include full-rank tensor diffusion encoding. This proof provides a guideline for the application of this technique. The properties of the proposed indices are illustrated using both synthetic data and in vivo data acquired from a human brain.
PURPOSE: Diffusion-weighted MRI is sensitive to incoherent tissue motion, which may confound the measured signal and subsequent analysis. We propose a "motion-compensated" gradient waveform design for tensor-valued diffusion encoding that negates the effects bulk motion and incoherent motion in the ballistic regime. METHODS: Motion compensation was achieved by constraining the magnitude of gradient waveform moment vectors. The constraint was incorporated into a numerical optimization framework, along with existing constraints that account for b-tensor shape, hardware restrictions, and concomitant field gradients. We evaluated the efficacy of encoding and motion compensation in simulations, and we demonstrated the approach by linear and planar b-tensor encoding in a healthy heart in vivo. RESULTS: The optimization framework produced asymmetric motion-compensated waveforms that yielded b-tensors of arbitrary shape with improved efficiency compared with previous designs for tensor-valued encoding, and equivalent efficiency to previous designs for linear (conventional) encoding. Technical feasibility was demonstrated in the heart in vivo, showing vastly improved data quality when using motion compensation. The optimization framework is available online in open source. CONCLUSION: Our gradient waveform design is both more flexible and efficient than previous methods, facilitating tensor-valued diffusion encoding in tissues in which motion would otherwise confound the signal. The proposed design exploits asymmetric encoding times, a single refocusing pulse or multiple refocusing pulses, and integrates compensation for concomitant gradient effects throughout the imaging volume.
Using positron emission tomography, we recently demonstrated elevated brain levels of the 18kDa translocator protein (TSPO), a glial activation marker, in chronic low back pain (cLBP) patients, compared to healthy controls (HC). Here, we first sought to replicate the original findings in an independent cohort (15 cLBP, 37.8±12.5 y/o; 18 HC, 48.2±12.8 y/o). We then trained random forest (RF) machine learning algorithms based on TSPO imaging features combining discovery and replication cohorts (totaling 25 cLBP, 42.4±13.2 y/o; 27 HC, 48.9±12.6 y/o), in order to explore whether image features other than the mean contain meaningful information that might contribute to the discrimination of cLBP patients and HC. Feature importance was ranked usind SHapley Additive exPlanations (SHAP) values, and the classification performance (in terms of AUC values) of classifiers containing only the mean, other features, or all features was compared using the DeLong test. Both region-of-interest (ROI) and voxelwise analyses replicated the original observation of thalamic TSPO signal elevations in cLBP patients compared to HC (p's<0.05). The RF-based analyses revealed that while the mean is a discriminating feature, other features demonstrate similar level of importance, including the maximum, kurtosis and entropy.Our observations suggest that thalamic neuroinflammatory signal is a reproducible and discriminating feature for cLBP, further supporting a role for glial activation in human chronic low back pain, and the exploration of neuroinflammation as a therapeutic target for chronic pain. This work further shows that TSPO signal contains a richness of information that the simple mean might fail to capture completely.
BACKGROUND: Extracellular free water within cerebral white matter tissue has been shown to increase with age and pathology, yet the cognitive consequences of free water in typical aging prior to the development of neurodegenerative disease remains unclear. Understanding the contribution of free water to cognitive function in older adults may provide important insight into the neural mechanisms of the cognitive aging process. METHODS: A diffusion-weighted MRI measure of extracellular free water as well as a commonly used diffusion MRI metric (fractional anisotropy) along nine bilateral white matter pathways were examined for their relationship with cognitive function assessed by the NIH Toolbox Cognitive Battery in 47 older adults (mean age = 74.4 years, SD = 5.4 years, range = 65-85 years). Probabilistic tractography at the 99th percentile level of probability (Tracts Constrained by Underlying Anatomy; TRACULA) was utilized to produce the pathways on which microstructural characteristics were overlaid and examined for their contribution to cognitive function independent of age, education, and gender. RESULTS: When examining the 99th percentile probability core white matter pathway derived from TRACULA, poorer fluid cognitive ability was related to higher mean free water values across the angular and cingulum bundles of the cingulate gyrus, as well as the corticospinal tract and the superior longitudinal fasciculus. There was no relationship between cognition and mean FA or free water-adjusted FA across the 99th percentile core white matter pathway. Crystallized cognitive ability was not associated with any of the diffusion measures. When examining cognitive domains comprising the NIH Toolbox Fluid Cognition index relationships with these white matter pathways, mean free water demonstrated strong hemispheric and functional specificity for cognitive performance, whereas mean FA was not related to age or cognition across the 99th percentile pathway. CONCLUSIONS: Extracellular free water within white matter appears to increase with normal aging, and higher values are associated with significantly lower fluid but not crystallized cognitive functions. When using TRACULA to estimate the core of a white matter pathway, a higher degree of free water appears to be highly specific to the pathways associated with memory, working memory, and speeded decision-making performance, whereas no such relationship existed with FA. These data suggest that free water may play an important role in the cognitive aging process, and may serve as a stronger and more specific indicator of early cognitive decline than traditional diffusion MRI measures, such as FA.
PURPOSE: To optimize diffusion-relaxation MRI with tensor-valued diffusion encoding for precise estimation of compartment-specific fractions, diffusivities, and T values within a two-compartment model of white matter, and to explore the approach in vivo. METHODS: Sampling protocols featuring different b-values (b), b-tensor shapes (b ), and echo times (TE) were optimized using Cramér-Rao lower bounds (CRLB). Whole-brain data were acquired in children, adults, and elderly with white matter lesions. Compartment fractions, diffusivities, and T values were estimated in a model featuring two microstructural compartments represented by a "stick" and a "zeppelin." RESULTS: Precise parameter estimates were enabled by sampling protocols featuring seven or more "shells" with unique b/b /TE-combinations. Acquisition times were approximately 15 minutes. In white matter of adults, the "stick" compartment had a fraction of approximately 0.5 and, compared with the "zeppelin" compartment, featured lower isotropic diffusivities (0.6 vs. 1.3 μm /ms) but higher T values (85 vs. 65 ms). Children featured lower "stick" fractions (0.4). White matter lesions exhibited high "zeppelin" isotropic diffusivities (1.7 μm /ms) and T values (150 ms). CONCLUSIONS: Diffusion-relaxation MRI with tensor-valued diffusion encoding expands the set of microstructure parameters that can be precisely estimated and therefore increases their specificity to biological quantities.